04 DecWhat is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?
Lymphatic drainage massage is an extremely gentle, rhythmic and flowing massage that targets the lymphatic system alone.
This style of massage is targeting a very superficial body system that only requires a light touch compared to direct soft tissue work like remedial massage.
The lymphatic system contains capillaries, vessels, nodes and blood vessels (which are major ducts that empty into the thermus region back towards the heart). The lymph nodes are extremely important as they filter and clean incoming lymph and produce immune competent T & B cells. Clearing these superficial or deeper clusters will assist the system in detoxification of metabolic waste.
The lymphatic system is a one way system that has no pump unlike the circulatory system. Simple body movement & the action of breathing helps to push the lymphatic fluid through the lymph vessels which are called lymphangions. This is a very slight muscle contraction at 6 contractions per minute. The lymphatic fluid is then slowly returned back to the heart and to the blood stream.
The main aim of this system is to recover essential interstitial fluid (containing blood plasma & proteins) that is lost from the circulatory system within the capillary beds. Up to 2-3 liters of water and 50% of blood protein is lost from the circulation system per day (10% of circulatory fluid). Through this ‘mop’ up system it is then reestablished back into the body’s blood stream to ensure the body maintains a healthy balance.
This system is extremely sluggish and slow, circulating between 1.5 to 2 liters of Lymph per day. With lymphatic massage it can be increased up to 6 liters per day which is a large increase.
The clinical intent of this massage is to:
- Stimulate the lymphatic system to reabsorb & transport lymph more effectively
- Stimulate immune system
- Encourage relaxation to reduce the sensation of pain
- Assist with removal of metabolic waste from the tissue
- Assist clients that have had sections of the lymph system removed due to cancer
Lymphatic massage will assist with:
- Sinusitis/hay fever
- Oedema reduction (pregnancy)
- Pain relief (fibromyalgia)
- Chronic inflammation
- Strains, Sprains and bruising
- Soft tissue damage
- Post sporting event inflammation
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Pre/post surgery
Results of treatment will vary in every case. A client that is suffering from swollen limbs, will normally see a reduction in oedema directly after treatment and will continue to do so for up to 12 hours post treatment. For a client that is relatively healthy and active the challenge of this treatment might be that you feel it hasn’t done anything. However, if your system is compromised by any of the above, you may feel less fatigued/stressed, lighter and relaxed.
If you suffer from any form of cancer, heart condition or chronic inflammation medical clearance from your treating practitioner will be required.
Carly Allen – Remedial Massage Therapist